‘Frasier’: How Much Money Did Niles’ Wife, Maris, Really Have?

Maris Crane was a minor character throughout Frasier, so small in fact, that her part was never actually cast, and, after 11 seasons, an actual physical embodiment of Maris is never seen. Nevertheless, fans have long yearned for more information about her, specifically about her mysterious background and where her apparent fortune came from. While fans will never get to see the physical manifestation of Maris, we can, at the very least, hypothesize about her money.

Maris is from family money

From the very start of Frasier, fans are made keenly aware that the marriage between Niles Crane and his wife, Maris, is distant. She never shows up at events, and it appears as though Niles does pretty much everything solo. What fans didn’t know at the start of the series was just how little Niles actually knew about Maris and her family.  It becomes apparent just how distant their relationship was when Niles visits a divorce lawyer and finally, after many years of marriage, finds out where Maris’ money really came from.

Maris, apparently, had told Niles that her family’s fortune was made in timber, but Donny Douglas, the lawyer who goes on to woo Daphne, finds out the family’s money was actually made in urinal cakes. Terrified that news would get out, Maris agrees to give Niles a hefty settlement, the only thing she requires in return is his silence. Silence is exactly what she gets, but just how much money did Maris’ family really have?

There are several hints that Maris’ family are likely billionaires

It’s hard to ascertain just how much money a group of people could make in the urinal cake trade. After all, it’s not a product that many people think about, but what we do know is that Maris’ family is believed to have a ton of money, and there are several hints throughout the series that the family is likely sitting on a fortune worth billions.

Maris’ father allegedly got her out of many run-ins with the law, and in later seasons, fans find out that Maris murders her abusive boyfriend, but absconds to her family’s private island where she can not be extradited. According to CNN Money, a private island can cost between $100,000 and $5 million. Islands on the lower end of the price range, however, are going to be primitive. Maris is known to be fussy, so one can assume her island paradise is well appointed. Appointing a remote island for creature comforts can be expensive, too.

Maris’ home, which is featured in the early seasons of Frasier, is ostentatious. Not only does Maris have her own deprivation chamber, but she also has a full staff of workers who keep the home running. Niles even suggested he needed help to slam one of the home’s massive, wooden doors. We are never told just how big the house is, but one can assume it was an estate, complete with a guarded entrance. A home like that in the Seattle area would go for millions. Currently, the most expensive home in the Seattle area is a waterfront mansion listed for $45 million, according to Business Insider.

Will Frasier fans ever learn more about Maris?

While a Frasier reboot could be happening, it’s unlikely that fans will ever get to learn more about Niles’ mysterious ex-wife. While Kelsey Grammer has been open about his desire to reassemble the original cast of Frasier, it doesn’t seem like Maris will play into the narrative. Also missing will be Marty Crane, Frasier and Niles’ father. The actor who portrayed Marty, John Mahoney, died in February 2018.  

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Presumably, Niles is still married to Daphne, the object of his obsession. Fans know they had at least one child together, so there is likely no need to take a deep dive so far into Niles’ past. Maris will stay just as mysterious as she ever was, and that’s probably a good thing. Maris’ background was a unique element in the series, and revealing more about her would ruin the magic.